The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (1069) Second Lieutenant Thomas Fraser Bruce, 36th Battalion (Infantry), First World War

Accession Number PAFU2014/021.01
Collection type Film
Object type Last Post film
Physical description 16:9
Maker Australian War Memorial
Place made Australia: Australian Capital Territory, Canberra, Campbell
Date made 21 January 2014
Access Open
Conflict First World War, 1914-1918
Copyright Item copyright: © Australian War Memorial
Creative Commons License This item is licensed under CC BY-NC
Copying Provisions Copyright restrictions apply. Only personal, non-commercial, research and study use permitted. Permission of copyright holder required for any commercial use and/or reproduction.

The Last Post Ceremony is presented in the Commemorative area of the Australian War Memorial each day. The ceremony commemorates more than 102,000 Australians who have given their lives in war and other operations and whose names are recorded on the Roll of Honour. At each ceremony the story behind one of the names on the Roll of Honour is told. Hosted by Craig Blanch, the story for this day was on (1069) Second Lieutenant Thomas Fraser Bruce, 36th Battalion (Infantry), First World War.

Film order form
Speech transcript

Second Lieutenant Thomas Fraser Bruce, 36th Battalion, AIF
KIA 12 October, 1917
No photograph in collection

Story delivered 21 January 2014

Today we remember and pay tribute to Second Lieutenant Thomas Fraser Bruce.

Bruce was born at Braidwood, New South Wales, in 1885 and as a young boy moved to Sydney with his family. He was a gifted sportsman and he played Rugby League for Easts from 1908 until 1913 alongside Herbert "Dally" Messenger.

Bruce enlisted for home service in July 1915. He worked as a camp cook in the Liverpool Camp Depot Company until 3 March 1916, when he took his discharge to enlist in the AIF. He joined the newly formed 36th Battalion and was allocated to D Company.

Bruce left with his battalion aboard the transport ship Beltana from Sydney in May 1916. The men of the 36th Battalion disembarked in England in July and were sent to Larkhill Camp on Salisbury Plain. Bruce was promoted to corporal at the end of August and in November sailed with his battalion for France. The 36th went into the front lines for the first time in early December and were subjected to bitterly cold conditions as the winter of 1916-17 took hold.
In February 1917 Bruce was promoted to sergeant.

The men of the 36th took part in their first major battle in June, when the battle of Messines began. As the battalion consolidated its position near the Douve River, Bruce received a shrapnel wound in his back and was evacuated to Boulogne for treatment.

He re-joined the 36th Battalion on 21 August and at the end of the month was commissioned as a second lieutenant. At the end of September Bruce was amongst the men of the 36th who moved into the front line to relieve exhausted troops. Theyremained at the front until early October. Following four days of rest and refitting, the battalion once again moved to the front line, this time near Poelcapelle.

On 12 October the battle of Passchendaele began. In the early hours of that morning the battalion was subjected to a heavy German artillery barrage. It was during this time that Bruce was killed, and in the fighting his body was never recovered.

His name is listed on the Roll of Honour on my right, along with more than 60,000 others from the First World War. There is no photograph in the collection to display beside the Pool of Reflection.

This is but one of the many stories of courage and sacrifice told here at the Australian War Memorial. We now remember Second Lieutenant Thomas Fraser Bruce, and all of those Australians who have given their lives in service of our nation.

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